Fotos from the Past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
After rejecting all previous new jail related proposals the Lincoln County Board of Supervisors has voted to seek bids for the construction of a new safety building. The board has had several resolutions in front of it in the last few months regarding the shape and size of the building but stalled completely when it came time to fund the project. Meanwhile the state has been threatening to close the current facility due to overcrowding and what they terms as unsafe facilities. The hesitancy of the board comes with a cost, when the county began looking at building a new jail in 1977 the cost was estimated at $1.1 million dollars, now in 1979 that price tag has jumped to $2.5 million. Architects have offered to trim the building down to bare bones in order to reduce the price back to around $1.5 million. (That is the little known reason why the old safety building never saw its promised second floor)
L. James O’Day, publisher of the Merrill Foto News has announced the appointment of Sharon Thatcher to editor of the publication. Mrs. Thatcher brings a broad background of journalistic experience to her new post, she is currently the editor of a Wisconsin business publication. Her photography experience has broadened over the years and has helped to contribute to the forty awards the Foto News has won in national competitions in the past half dozen years. Thatcher replaces Phil Ziesemer who has resigned to take a job in local industry.
A fire has leveled a warehouse and machine operations affiliated with the Anson and Gilkey Company of Merrill. The fire gutted the 90,000 square foot Dawson Corp, the company that supplied Anson and Gilkey with cut stock. John Bogotwitz, vice-president of operations at Anson and Gilkey advised his company has suspended part of its own stock cutting when they started buying from Dawson. Bogowitz now hopes to revitalize that operation to overcome shortages.
The paper is out a day early this week as merchants around Merrill prepare for Crazy Day’s. This year’s theme is “Christmas in July” and Santa Claus is expected to make appearances throughout the city. In the Sixth Ward a food stand will be at Club 64, the west side has many bargains and food stands beside the chicken BBQ at Cenotaph Park. In the evening a variety of music can be found across town, in the Sixth Ward Deuce Coupe is playing at Club 64, Double Bogie’s will have Sundog out on Genesee St, Raoul’s Bar will have the music of The Lost Guide’s on the street and Les & Jim’s Lincoln Lanes will present an outdoor dance with Runabout. Residents on the west side can also enjoy the Merrill City Band who will play at Cenotaph Park at 7:00 PM. Mayor Ken Sparr will be the special guest musician.
The Fairgrounds will be transformed Thursday as the “Greatest Show on Earth” will invade Merrill. The Carson and Barnes 5-ring circus comes to town for a two shows. Hailed as a “return to the good old days,” the Carson and Barnes Circus is the largest circus to come to Merrill in years. Besides its 20 elephants, the circus boasts a million dollars’ worth of exotic and domestic animals, band top flight human performers from around the world. The circus is sponsored by the Merrill Evening Lion’s Club.
The City of Merrill Common Council has issued an official proclamation honoring the David and Katherine Stone Smith Foundation for their generous donation of $650,000 allowing the construction of the Smith Center on the MARC Center grounds. In presenting the proclamation Mayor Michael Caylor noted the Smith Center is the anchor of the MARC complex and our high quality parks is what brings people to Merrill. Katherine Stone-Smith accepted the award on behalf of her late husband.
The fair starts today, Rainbow Valley Rides is providing the midway entertainment for the year. Their special is this Friday when unlimited rides costs just $10. Wayne Horsburgh will be performing in front of the grandstand on Thursday while Dan Seals will take the stage on Friday.
After nearly 500 victories as a coach, Bill Helmuth is hanging up his cleats. The Merrill Senior High baseball and American Legion Post coach Helmuth has spent 23 years coaching locally. Helmuth still recalls the advice head coach Ron Sterr when he took the top job, “these are 16 and 17 year olds and will make mistakes and remember to leaver something behind. Helmuth credits outstanding players and assistant coaches who helped him throughout the years along with his wife Jan who knew nothing about baseball early on but is now his biggest fan. (Bill still coaches from section 218-219 at Miller Park at each and every home game)